Swallows and Amazons 2016 – the film trailer


Swallows and Amazons – the new film trailer: where adventure meets danger

Please click here to view of the film trailer

If you experience problems watching it – first make sure ‘Flash’ is enabled on your computer

To get a behind-the-scenes look of the classic film, take a look at the book ‘The Making Of Swallows and Amazons’


Author: Sophie Neville

Writer and charity fundraiser

75 thoughts on “Swallows and Amazons 2016 – the film trailer”

  1. You have to sign up to see it! Meanwhile, a penny for Jane Shillings’ thoughts. She looks a very superior duffer…! She also misses the point – as a philosophical child also fills the need for artistic contrast. Maybe, someone can copy the clip and upload it to YouTube? Ave atque vale, hirundines amazonaeque! The real release will clearly trigger a minor frisson amongst the Wedgwood teacups! Though we have to crush the asp of Brexit first. Enlist a good charcoal burner, I say!

    1. I’m seeing the trailer fine without being a member or signed in. You do need to have “Flash” enabled on yourcomputer to see it.

  2. Oh dear, what is all this kidnapping stuff all about? I thought the whole point of S&A, and the source of most of its charm is that not much actually happens, it is all down to the imagination. The only thing wrong with the 1974 film was the lack of storm at the end, this looks awful – though I am prob not the target audience. Oh and there is no way on earth that ‘book’ John would have done anything that could have caused damage to anyone’s property – Susan would never have let him 🙂

      1. The lakes are looking lovely….. Otherwise I am afraid to say I will be avoiding this. I am trying to think of something appropriately nancyish but am not feeling suitably inspired even for that. What are the Amazon’s wearing on their heads?

      1. Not in the version I have?! I remember being so so upset when I first saw the film as that was my favourite chapter in the book (I was only little at the time)

        1. As children making the film back in 1973 we were sad the storm sequence was not included too, but they had to cut the story down to 90 minutes somehow. I didn’t know at the time but Mrs Ransome approved the script.

  3. I liked the trailer and am now REALLY looking forward to August 19th. The whole summer before the film is released! Arrgghh the agony of waiting!

    However, Jane Shilling clearly has no idea what Ransome’s (and mine!) idea of a duffer is: Ransome clearly intended that ‘duffer’ meant ‘fool’ or ‘stupidity’ or similar. Her idea of a duffer seems to be someone who is an indoors type of person, not an outdoors type, or at the very least an introvert. In the later books, Jane Shilling would clearly see Dick as a duffer, when he is quite plainly not a fool. Jane Shilling, therefore, is the duffer.

    Slightly put off by the Mrs Walker’s Scottish accent. The Walkers were from the south of England. Granted, that does not preclude a mother with a Scottish accent, but it just seems slightly odd to me.

    Ok. the film may not have followed the original story line closely, but if it makes for good adventure that children (and the overgrown kids called adults!) can enjoy, what’s the problem, as long as the spirit of Ransome’s stories and story telling is not lost?

      1. No, actually I’m not. But I rather suspect that I should be. Was thrilled the first time that I managed to sail to Wild Cat island two years ago in a very much jury-rigged inflatable dinghy! Made a wooden frame to support a 3 metre mast, that sat on top of the dinghy, and used a £5 tarpaulin fro B&Q as a makeshift sail, sort of a square gaff rig affair, with a horizontal top spar and boom at the bottom. Used a couple of longish planks of plywood as dagger boards on each side to stop leeward drfit, and another plank as a rudder! It got me there eventually, and would sail to windward. However, when tacking, it would not NOT come head to wind – I had to jibe 270 degrees in order to effect a tack! I think this had something to do with the dagger boards on both sides, but never really bothered to solve it. However, I did prove that very primitive sailing rigs can work – you don’t even need a proper sail – but they’re not likely to win any races.

        This year, I have a little bit more money available, and have bought an 18 foot sailing cabin cruiser, a Pedro (variation of a Seahawk). Needs a little work on it, but I intend to be in the Lakes with it towards the end of July!

        How do I join TARS? I really should, I suppose 🙂

      1. Explains a lot – I have never liked musicals! (I assume you mean the stage version – I didn’t realise that was classed as a musical, I have read the script though.)

  4. The filming looks really professional , the area superb ( obviously ) but there are one or two problems –
    Why has Mrs Walker become Molly Weir ?
    Why has John Walker become a PE student of at least 16 ?
    Why have we a scene taken from ` The 39 Steps` – on the outside of the train
    and , did I miss the chapter ? , where did the `plane fit in ?
    P.S. The houseboat looks terrible ! Discuss
    TARS ( orig. ) for ever , Martin Robinson

  5. The filming looks good but there are various points from that short trailer that make it look like a “film based on the book” rather than “the film of the book”. Very strange Amazons, but Titty and Roger look right for their parts.
    The “houseboat” is just and ordinary cruiser of the period and looks as if she’ll weigh anchor and motor off at any time. “Swallow” appears jet propelled when the lake is calm.
    Pop over to Tarboard (http://www.tarboard.net/tarboard/tarboard.html) to read some more of the observations and anachronisms spotted already.

  6. Further to my previous comment I am going to try to explain. To be a decent adaption of a book (for me) a film should try to capture the spirit and main ethos of a story (obviously I have only seen the trailer so this is probably harsh). As a comparison I think of the (fairly recent) Narnia films, the first two made many changes to the books, yet for me the ‘spirit’ of the book was retained and whilst some changes did not work, others did to the extent that I was not sure if they actually were in the book they fitted so well. However the third one, (dawn treader) was awful, things were added that fundamentally changed the ethos of the first book so rather than a tale of an adventure and longing for aslan, we got some silliness about green mist and obsession with collecting swords.

    For me, the swallows and amazons books are tales of imagination, you don’t need to lever in a spy story to create a world of wonder for children, the 1974 film does have faults but I thought it a fine adaption. If nothing else the amazons were in their red hat’s surely almost a trademark? No way Nancy should be seen wearing anything else on her head (unless of course the great aunt is around…).

        1. I suppose they wanted to add something visual and dramatic that children could associate with. Did you ever imagine Nancy wearing fancy dress when you read the books?

          1. Given the disbelief of the Swallows when they see her in the carriage with the Great Aunt, no! (in response to your question of Nancy and fancy dress!)

    1. Very well put Liz, I share your view.

      If the trailer is a guide to the film then all they have done is ‘bought’ the title and the characters names to produce something else altogether.

  7. I look forward to the new versions of `Robinson Crusoe and his special friend ` , ` Billy Bunter of Greyfriers weightwatchers club` or possibly `Stig of the Recyclers`

    1. Oh, ‘Robinson Crusoe’ is already a cartoon featuring a tapir. I rather like tapirs but it might have given Titty a bit of a surprise. I can’t think which desert island they might inhabit. Does anyone know?

  8. Apologies for the negativity in my previous comment , but I really find the idea of changing a classic book unacceptable . Adding the odd scene , perhaps , but name changing , age changing , countryoforigin (sic) changing , I find a little too much to bear ! – Hamlet , prince of Dartford ??

    1. It is a good discussion. What did you think of the changes made to the book by the 1974 adaptation? The storm scene was cut, finding the treasure was simplified, we didn’t have the black spot or see much of Mr Jackson etc, as the story had to be compressed to 90 mins. There were also changes. Titty explored Rio rather than being left on her rock and the steam train was added. Can you think of anything else we added?

      1. Obviously given that a film of a book is of a different nature than the book itself changes or additions have to be made. In the 1974 film the Walkers are shown on the train, but it is referred to in the book – it makes for a good starting point.

        Judging by the trailer changes and additions have been made that have no source in the original book. Mrs Walker is the most glaring, where in the book we are told she grew up in Australia of unstated parentage, now she is Scottish! Why? How?

        As others have mentioned there seems to be borrowings from the ’39 Steps’, again why?

        The time shift from 1930 to approaching war is also strange, Ransome made no reference at all to external (to the nation) events even though some of the books were written during WWII. The explanation that this references his own background as a ‘spy’ makes no sense as this is firstly unproven, and more importantly took place during the First World War.

      2. As a 10yr old when I first read S&A in 1964 I was completely captured by the whole story when I spent a week at the CHA in Ambleside . My father rowed us for several hours on Windermere from Bowness , but of course , Wild Cat Island was not to be found …
        Christina Hardyment , when she wrote S&A and AR`s trunk , we all realised that it was true – the characters were mainly true , the settings were a beautiful mixture of places we all think/thought we knew , but above all the characters were not to be changed . I have met Dick Kelsall , a nearer model for Dick Callum you could have never found !
        Your 1974 film I knew had been adapted , but the overall production gave a story which we all knew and loved despite the odd piece of pruning/ adaptation .
        Sincerely , Martin Robinson

        1. What a wonderful memory to have of rowing on Windermere with your father and how amazing to have met Dick Kelsall.

          Christina’s book has been widely read. She is now a trustee of the Arthur Ransome Estate and, along with the other trustees, approved the script of the new film. They are hoping the new film will attract a new generation of readers. The question is, which of the other books would make a good movie sequel?

          1. I think you already know the answer to the possible sequel question – obviously a movie remake of Coot Club / Big Six , cleverly cast by someone who ( this time ) has actually read the books would be ideal ! The settings are still there – we all had lunch in Wroxham two years ago at the `Kings Head` and a trip on a launch ( whose captain had unsucces fully auditioned for the part of Tom Dudgeon in your tv version )
            I am certain that a movie version could prove to be another way to promote A .R.`s books .You could use your contacts in the industry to work towards what could also be a positive help to East Anglia tourism .
            Think about it …
            Sincerely , Martin Robinson

              1. As Captain Mainwaring in `Dads` Army`would have said , ` You are living in the realms of fantasy ` as regards your choices of sequel to SandA (2) . I think mine is much better, as I am sure you do !

              2. I do (having worked on ‘Coot Club’ the BBC serial) but commercial movies demand adventure – and if you can offer it on the high seas, all the better. ‘Winter Holiday’ would be a contestant but difficult to film. You’d need to make it in Latvia!

  9. Most of your questions can only be answered by the producer and writer of the new film adaptation. Arthur Ransome was registered as working for MI6 and did have a number. Am I right in thinking he resigned from such activity in 1924? I have been told that his wife was cautious of strangers and worried about Russians turning up at their cottage in the Lake District when they were first married. Have you read Roland Chamber’s biography? https://www.amazon.co.uk/Last-Englishman-Double-Arthur-Ransome/dp/0571222625/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1466435280&sr=1-1&keywords=The+Last+Englishman+by+Roland

    1. Thanks for your reply Sophie, thankfully my questions were rhetorical!

      Yes, I have read the Chamber’s book, but given Ransome’s activities when he returned to the UK it does seem unlikely he would have had much to do with MI6 in the late 1930s.

  10. I must admit it looks quite entertaining – the Lakes scenery is great, as always, and the part with the train reminded me of the beginning of Disney’s The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe (plus a bit of Biggles thrown in!) My daughter wants to go and see it, so that’s all the excuses I need 🙂

    I’m sure it’ll never replace your version though, for faithfulness to the book and sheer nostalgia (I was eleven in 1973, so there’s a bit of time travel involved for me too). It will just be a bit… different!

    1. I had an art teacher who’s mantra was, ‘Not better than, not worse than – different from.’ However the new film benefits from all the amazing new camera equipment now available. The cinematography is stunning. They were able to add a number of aerial shots. Hopefully watching the new film will make you feel 11 again!

      Have you remembered anything about life in 1973 that I should add to the second edition of ‘The Making of Swallows & Amazons, 1974?’ There was an involuntary intake of breath when someone used the words ‘tinned spaghetti’ yesterday.

  11. My introduction to the books came when the film was shown on BBC1 one day about 1980, so I have nothing but praise for that adaptation. I enjoyed the play / musical very much too, recognising the brilliant effort that had brought the world of the Lake to the stage with a small cast and a not too huge budget.
    But oh dear me, if the trailer is anything to go by, the makers of this new film have made the terrible error of assuming that Ransome is in the same (lesser) class of children’s writers as Enid Blyton, and thus can be taken liberties with since the original writer created events that were implausible, to say the least.
    Ransome is all about children using their imagination to create an exciting adventure that very definitely does not rely on throwing in unrealistic grown-up spies, robbers (the houseboat burglars are normal local criminals, not a daredevil gang), train chases, seaplanes and lord knows what else. He does not need this embarrassing spicing up.

    1. Thanks so much for taking the time to comment.

      Working on the adaptation of Swallows and Amazons in 1973 was interesting. There are changes to the book. One thing we found was that the dialogue Ransome gave the children in the book was too wordy to deliver when we were actually sailing out on the water.

      It was not a big budget film. We had one producer and one writer who worked under Mrs Ransome. She pretty well script-edited it. The amazing thing was that it hasn’t dated much. There are a couple of jerky camera zooms early on but otherwise you couldn’t tell it was made 43 years ago. Have you seen the re-mastered cinema?

      1. I have the DVD version – and your fascinating and very entertaining book about the making of the film.
        Incidentally, it was the BBC 1 broadcast on 21 April 1982 that I saw, I was 10. And goodness me it introduced me to a whole new world that wasn’t like the mostly rather unbelievable Enid Blyton stuff I’d enjoyed previously. My late mother watched it too and was so enthused that she went out and bought Swallows and Amazons the following day (ostensibly for me, but secretly because she wanted to read it), Ransome became a shared enjoyment, so I have to thank you and everyone else involved in the film for an introduction to the much wider pleasure we gained from the books over many years. Titty became a particular heroine for Mum – she often said afterwards that that was how she had felt as a little girl but nobody had really expressed it for her, in fiction, before.
        There are certainly changes in the 1974 film from the book, but really they are minor cuts to speed things along a bit and fit the main points into 90 minutes. The exception is the loss of the final storm – but even that is understandable in cinema: far better to have our heroes sailing off into the sunset right after their victory in the Battle of Houseboat Bay than being rescued, bedraggled and damp, by a horde of natives. In the book it’s a beautiful and rather wistful epilogue that brings us gently back down to earth, (“Aye, we all think that when we’re young”) with a promise of more to come next year, but on screen it would deflate things too much.

        1. Yes, I think you are right about the storm. As children we were a little disappointed but relieved it wasn’t included. Others have commented that Ransome could hardly bear to finish writing S&A and also see it is as an epilogue.

          I am so glad you have enjoyed my book on hoe the film was made. I am contemplating bring out a second edition. Have you noticed any errors I need to correct?!

  12. Love Swallows and Amazons, I think my parents used it as a parenting guide! Live by the sea now and help teach kids to sail because of that book. But in the trailer it looks like they are chasing a seaplane in a sail boat, this would involve sailing into the wind. Maybe not, I will have to wait to see the film to find out.

    1. So good to hear from you! I’m off to Cowes tomorrow to see the dinghy they used for Swallow in the new film.
      Have you found the book on ‘The Making of Swallows & Amazons'(1974)? It’s quite fun!

      1. Thanks, I will check the book out! Cannot wait to see the film, my lad is 15 so I might take my dad, who is 90, instead! I think he will appreciate it more. Thank you for taking the time to reply. All the best.

        1. I am sure your Dad will enjoy the new film of S&A! You emerge from the cinema feeling you have been to the Lake District. Both John and Nancy are aged 15, so it has a wider appeal – it’s been described as a ‘coming of age film’.

          1. I think your character was dad’s favourite. He will be very chuffed that he got a mention. Thanks for the heads up, I will try and get all three generations to go together.

            1. That would be fun! You could write a review from three different angles. I’m longing to know what people think. I saw the producer on the Isle of Wight yesterday when I was interviewed about the film by BBC South Today with the girl who plays Nancy.

    2. Just watched the trailer again and it looks like they are being towed by the plane in an attempt to stop it taking off. Hope to see the movie soon.

  13. Trailer makes me want to see the whole film, it has intrigued me. It might depart majorly from the scource book but I think I can handle that and just regard as an exciting adventure film featuring known characters. Any way, we will see!

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